There's been a huge explosion of Smartphone 'apps' in recent years, but which ones can really help small-business owners to save time and money?
We at Safetech Design like to offer more than just Web Design.
Find below the apps that we and our business clients find the most useful:
Do you jot down important notes during the day, yet usually end up losing them? Evernote could provide a solution. It enables you to store notes in the cloud and access them remotely. You can save text, a webpage or excerpt, images, voice memos and handwritten notes, as well file attachments. Evernote is available free for all major mobile devices.
2 Google Apps
Google Apps is a suite of hugely popular applications. You can use Google Docs to create and save documents, spreadsheets and slide shows that can be worked on simultaneously by others. Keep your day organised and share details of your whereabouts with others with Google Calendar. Send handy meeting reminders via email. Of course, you can also set up a free Gmail address and receive 25GB of storage, while Google Drive allows you to "Store everything, share anything", with 5 GB of free storage for each user. Google Apps are available free for all major mobile devices.
Turns your iPhone into a handy portable scanner that can quickly digitise till receipts, bills, invoices, business cards, whiteboard and paper notes, letters, memos, newspaper articles, CVs, etc. Then you can crop the image, enhance its quality and create a PDF (or Jpeg) to send on or store. Download free from iTunes for iPhone.
More than 50m people worldwide use Dropbox to "always have their stuff at hand, share and work on team projects". Dropbox also enables you to store and share large files (eg documents, images, videos, etc) online with colleagues, clients and others. Available free for all major mobile devices.
5 Rail Commute
There are few things more frustrating than arriving late to miss a train by seconds (well, perhaps apart from arriving too early and having to wait around for ages). Rail Commute tells you when your next train is due, what platform it will be on and whether there are any delays, making waiting around on platforms a thing of the past (hopefully). Available for iPhone, download from iTunes for £2.49.
Harvest is billed as "the perfect tool for individuals and teams who need to track, analyse and bill for their time", which includes freelances and many small businesses, of course. You can view visual reports that show how you distribute your time and resources. You can also quickly create an online invoice to speed up payment. Available for free for iPhone and Android.
7 Wi-Fi Finder
If youre out and about and need to find a Wi-Fi connection urgently, this handy little app can help. Using your mobiles GPS function, the Wi-Fi finder will pinpoint the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot and show you how to get there. It can point you in the direction of more than 500,000 free and paid Wi-Fi hotspots in 144 countries, simply set your preference. Wi-Fi Finder is available free for iPhone and Android.
Skype is said to have more than 660m registered users worldwide. Via the internet, you can call, video call and instant message employees, customers and suppliers for free if they are also registered with Skype. Available free for Windows Phone, iPhone and Android.
9 UK Postage Calculator
Advertised as "The easiest and quickest way to calculate UK postage costs!", this app is perfect for small firms that send out a high volume of parcels and letters. You specify your options (eg destination, size, speed of delivery, etc) and can then see the prices for each weight range, which enables you to select your preferred postage option. Includes prices for the UK, Europe and Rest of the World. Available for iPhone, download from iTunes for £0.69p.
10 Business Banking
Business banking customers can now access apps produced by most banks specifically for the mobile devices. Business Internet Banking services helps you stay on top of your finances – wherever you are. View balances on your business accounts, credit cards, international business accounts, mortgages and loans. Find out your available balance on your overdraft. See all your transactions since your last statement was issued, and see transactions due to go out the next working day. Transfer money between accounts, make and amend bill payments to new and existing payees immediately or up to 45 days ahead subject to your Business Internet Banking Bill Payment limit. Manage accounts for multiple businesses and switch between them quickly, simply and without logging off. Available free for most accounts.
Your company could be as powerful as these apps by ensuring your web presence is fully mobile.
Today it is imperative for companies to have a quality website that is fully mobile ready. Having a traditional website targeted only at desktop and laptop users is not an option and it is imperative to have a version of your site optimised for mobile web devices. Your site needs to be optimised for smart phones such as the iPhone, Android based systems, and tablet devices such as the iPad. At Safetech Design we will ensure you give your site visitors an outstanding mobile web experience to ensure excellent conversion and repeat visits to your site.
Large companies and corporations are launching mobile web versions of their websites to ensure their users can access all of the sites pages on mobile devices. They understand it is paramount to have their web pages displayed quickly and easily and realise it is one of the most important parts of their business. We feel that if the big players are applying this strategy, then all companies should be following suit to ensure they future proof their businesses.
Safetech Design Ltd
As we cannot be experts in every relevant subject, we would love to receive 'guest' articles that may be of interest to anyone running their own business or thinking of doing so. ADD YOUR ARTICLE